New Optimism Over XM-Sirius Merger?

That's what the Wall Street Journal is suggesting today after reporting (subscription required) that an XM Satellite Radio director "made the largest insider purchase ever at the company amid optimism that legal rulings in favor of another merger could help clear the path for XM's proposed combination with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

"XM director Jeffrey Zients, who has served on the company's board since May 2006, reported Friday buying more than $3 million of the company's shares -- the largest reported purchase by an XM insider since the company went public in 1999."

Whole Foods buyout of Wild Oats, over the objections of the Federal Trade Commission, is viewed by many to be a bellweather for the XM-Sirius merger.

By Dan Beyers  |  August 29, 2007; 8:06 AM ET  | Category:  XM Satellite Radio
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How does FOX buy the Wall Street Journal and Barrons over night, ATTT & SBC merge withstood any regulatory issues, but it takes months for Sirius and XM to merge? It seems to me that local radio stations are bribing local politicians and the FCC to stop the merger. There's no reason why Sirius and XM shouldn't merge. Local radios monopoly over the airwaves. should be broken up. And if anyone has a monopoly its SBC and now Fox who own many media outlets in America and elsewhere.

Posted by: ed drossman | August 29, 2007 10:33 AM

I totally agree with Dossman. Terrestrial radio's immense efforts to stop this merger is proof that they are worried about the "competition" they say does not exist.

Posted by: Grant Schnarr | August 29, 2007 11:50 AM

I do some work with NAB and I also disagree with Dossman. If XM and Sirius merge, they will have a monopoly on satellite radio. Their lawyers will try to finagle their way out of that point, but the facts are clear. One satellite company equals a monopoly. EchoStar and DirecTV also tried to form a monopoly on satellite TV not too long ago but they were blocked. This case is no different.

Posted by: Chinook | August 29, 2007 12:13 PM

Funny how the only person against this merger is someone who "does some work for the NAB." Who does this merger hurt? If XM/Sirius raise the price of their subscriptions, subscribers can cancel their service. If the price of the unit go up, they don't have to buy one. XM and Sirius are service providers, I don't have to subscribe to them if I can't justify the cost.

This merger will have an effect only on free FM radio. They can't produce the same quality radio as Satellite can with their restriction from the FCC and reliance on advertisers. This is the real reason why the NAB doesn't want this merger to go through. Monopoly on Satellite Radio. Can't you hear how ridiculous and scared you sound. Remember how the NAB tried to keep iPods out of vehicles too.

Posted by: Ben Little | August 30, 2007 1:29 AM

NAB is fighting the merger because local radio stations are trying to keep their monopoly alive. Local radio stations are pushing their reps on the hill not to support the merger. Local reps are given free airtime by local radio stations as payment for them to show their disapproval for the merger. I hope the FCC sees that.

Posted by: ed drossman | August 30, 2007 10:38 AM

I am against the merger and do no work for the NAB.

Read the original FCC docs... both these entities made grand claims about what they would be able to deliver profitably, and then they went out and paid too much for talent (Howard Stern), and now want to be granted monopoly status for a bailout. I think they should perhaps have the merger granted, but be forced to return one of the company's spectrum, so that it can be re-auctioned...and we can see if someone else can figure it out.

Posted by: Ben in DC | August 30, 2007 4:26 PM

I disagree with Chinook. This merger will not create a monopoly in the satellite space. As he well knows, the FCC created this problem when they would licence only two companys in the satellite space. Why not let them merge and allow for more licenses in satellite? The FCC created a type of monopoly by allowing just two companys. Besides the competetiion landscape has dramatically changed since the early 1990s and Chinook (NAB rep) is well aware of this. For these reasons, the merger should be allowed.

Posted by: Frank | August 31, 2007 11:19 AM

If XM and Sirius merge, they'll have 100% of the satellite radio market. That is the definition of a monopoly, plain and simple.

Terrestrial radio does not serve as competition. If there were only two broadband providers in the country, could you argue that their merger wouldn't be a monopoly because people could still get dial-up?

Posted by: AH | September 1, 2007 1:47 AM

I would hate to see the jack*sses over at Sirius screw up the fine job XM is doing of delivering great content that can't be heard on regular radio. I'm against the merger for that reason alone.

Posted by: Daniel Mac | September 1, 2007 7:18 PM

Satellite TV has important differences. They carry over the air TV, because consumers wanted them to. Few people with SATradio want that. Over the air TV is going away, while radio never will, whether XM and Sirius merge or not. I am not certain that SATradio will survive without a merger, SatTV was never in danger of going under. I want the merger because I like the content of both systems.

I hated commercial radio before SATradio, and I love having an alternative. So, who is the real monopoly?

Posted by: MW | September 10, 2007 10:22 AM

Most of the anti-merger comments above refer to the "satellite radio market". There is no such "market" that is relevant from a competition standpoint. There is a "market" for news and information, for music, and for entertainment. And all of THESE markets have many competitors, some of which are not radios at all (e.g., iPods).

Satellite's advantages that have the terrestrial stations scared are better audio quality and no/few commercials, due to a largely subscription-based business. This has had a real effect on terrestrial radio in recent years, as they have cut commercial spot loads and boosted audio quality to match the satellite competition. Which is a good thing.

Posted by: FAL | September 11, 2007 5:32 PM

I am Xm subscriber and would love to get programming from Serius. I would not even mind paying more.

Posted by: mike | November 11, 2007 10:51 PM

I am a Sirius subscriber and look forward to getting the NHL on my receiver. The idea that combining these two companies is some sort of threat to the consumer is actually humorous. There are over 300 million people in the US and about 15 million who subscribe to satellite. By my numbers, that means about 5% of the population will be impacted at all... and probably 90% of us approve of the deal.

Posted by: Wayne | November 13, 2007 10:49 PM

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